curi

Epistemology Without Weights and the Mistake Objectivism and Critical Rationalism Both Made

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Objectivists accuse Popperians of being skeptics. Popperians accuse Objectivists of being infallibilists. Actually, both philosophies are valuable and largely compatible. I present here some integrating ideas and then a mistake that both philosophies share.



Knowledge is contextual, absolute, certain, conclusive and progressive. The standard of knowledge is conclusiveness not infallibility, perfection or omniscience.



Certain means we should act on it instead of hesitating. We should follow its implications and use it, rather than sitting around doubting, wondering, scared it might be wrong. Certain also means that it is knowledge, as opposed to non-knowledge; it denies skepticism.



Absolute means no contradictions, compromises or exceptions are allowed.



Contextual means that knowledge must be considered in context. A good idea in one context may not be a good idea when transplanted into another context. No knowledge could hold up against arbitrary context switches and context dropping.



Further, knowledge is problem oriented. Knowledge needs some problem(s) or question(s) for context, which it addresses or solves. Knowledge has to be knowledge about something, with some purpose. This implies: if you have an answer to a question, and then in the future you learn more, the old answer still answers the old question. It's still knowledge in its original, intended context.



Consider blood types. People wanted to know which blood transfusions were safe (among other questions) and they created some knowledge of A, B, AB and O blood types. Later they found out more. Actually there is A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+ and O-. It was proper to act on the earlier knowledge in its context. It would not be proper to act on it today; now we know that some B type blood is incompatible with some other B type blood. Today's superior knowledge of blood types is also contextual. Maybe there will be a new medical breakthrough next year. But it's still knowledge in today's context, and it's proper to act on it.



One thing to learn here is that a false idea can be knowledge. The idea that all B type blood is compatible is contextual knowledge. It was always false, as a matter of fact, and the mistake got some people killed. Yet it was still knowledge. How can that be?



Perfection is not the standard of knowledge. And not all false ideas are equally good. What matters is the early idea about blood types had value, it had useful information, it helped make many correct decisions, and no better idea was available at the time. That value never goes away even when we learn about a mistake. That original value is still knowledge, considered contextually, even though the idea as a whole is now known to be false.



Conclusive means the current context only allows for one rational conclusion. This conclusion is not infallible, but it's the only reasonable option available. All the alternative ideas have known flaws; they are refuted. There's only one idea left which is not refuted, which could be true, is true as far as we know (no known flaws), and which we should therefore accept. And that is knowledge.



None of this contradicts the progressive character of knowledge. Our knowledge is not frozen and final. We can learn more and better – without limit. We can keep identifying and correcting errors in our ideas and thereby achieve better and better knowledge. (One way knowledge can be better is that it is correct in more contexts and successfully addresses more problems and questions.)



The Mistake



Peikoff says that certainty (meaning conclusive knowledge) is when you get to the point that nothing else is possible. He means that, in the current context, there are no other options. There's just one option, and we should accept it. All the other ideas have something wrong with them, they can't be accepted. This is fine.



Peikoff also says that before you have certainty you have a different situation where there are multiple competing ideas. Fine. And that's not certainty, that's not conclusive knowledge, it's a precursor stage where you're considering the ideas. Fine.



But then Peikoff makes what I think is an important mistake. He says that if you don't have knowledge or certainty, you can still judge by the weight of the evidence. This is a standard view held by many non-Objectivists too. I think this is too compromising. I think the choices are knowledge or irrationality. We need knowledge; nothing less will suffice.



The weight of the evidence is no good. Either you have knowledge or you don't. If it's not knowledge, it's not worth anything. You need to come up with a good idea – no compromises, no contradictions, no known problems – and use that. If you can't or won't do that, all you have left is the irrationality of acting on and believing arbitrary non-knowledge.



I think we can always act on knowledge without contradictions. Knowledge is always possible to man. Not all knowledge instantly, but enough knowledge to act, in time to act. We may not know everything – but we don't need to. We can always know enough to continue life rationally. Living and acting by reason and knowledge is always possible.



(How can we always do this? That will be the subject of another essay. I'm not including any summary or hints because I think it's too confusing and misleading without a full explanation.)



Knowledge doesn't allow contradictions. Suppose you're considering two ideas that contradict each other. And you don't have a conclusive answer, you don't have knowledge of which is right. Then using or believing either one is irrational. No "weight of the evidence" or anything else can change this.



Don't pick a side when you know there is a contradiction but have not rationally resolved it. Resolve it; create knowledge; learn; think; figure it out. Neither idea being considered is good enough to address the contradiction or refute the other idea – so you know they are both flawed. Don't hope or pray that acting on a known-to-be-flawed idea will work out anyway. Irrationality doesn't work.



That's not good enough. If you discover a contradiction, you should resolve it rationally. If you fail at that – fail at the use of reason – then that's bad, that's a disaster, that's not OK.



Karl Popper made the same mistake in a different form. He said that we critically analyze competing ideas and the one that best survives criticism should be acted on. Again this is too compromising. Either exactly one idea survives criticism, or else there is still a contradiction. "Best survives criticism", and "weight of the evidence", are irrational ways of arbitrarily elevating one flawed idea over another, instead of using reason to come up with a correct idea.



(For some further discussion about weighing ideas, see also the choices chapter of The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch.)

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We work with and act on limited information all the time. This is not a problem, it is a metaphysically given fact. Furthermore, the information we do have contact with can be and often is burdensome and must be sorted selectively, this is focus. Hence, our epistemology, if it is to work within our nature, is necessarily metered by the law of identity.

As a real world example, I must work with limited information and uncertainty quite often at my current job. I work with and fix equipment with limited or no documentation, sometimes the equipment is older than I am. Certainty isn't given to me, I set up conditions which certainty can be derived within a limited scope of data by testing a number of possibilities. Note that these are possibilities, not arbitrary whimsical theories that are picked at random. There is nothing special about my situation, everyone does this from the most important to the most mundane subjects.

You get stuck on the alternatives and throw up your hands in defeat proclaiming them to be contradictory and irreconcilable. This is the starting point not the end, you TEST the alternatives. Different possible explanations REQUIRE action to resolve them NOT inaction.

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Objectivists accuse Popperians of being skeptics. Popperians accuse Objectivists of being infallibilists. Actually, both philosophies are valuable and largely compatible. I present here some integrating ideas and then a mistake that both philosophies share.

Knowledge is contextual, absolute, certain, conclusive and progressive. The standard of knowledge is conclusiveness not infallibility, perfection or omniscience.

Certain means we should act on it instead of hesitating. We should follow its implications and use it, rather than sitting around doubting, wondering, scared it might be wrong. Certain also means that it is knowledge, as opposed to non-knowledge; it denies skepticism.

Absolute means no contradictions, compromises or exceptions are allowed.

Contextual means that knowledge must be considered in context. A good idea in one context may not be a good idea when transplanted into another context. No knowledge could hold up against arbitrary context switches and context dropping.

Further, knowledge is problem oriented. Knowledge needs some problem(s) or question(s) for context, which it addresses or solves. Knowledge has to be knowledge about something, with some purpose. This implies: if you have an answer to a question, and then in the future you learn more, the old answer still answers the old question. It's still knowledge in its original, intended context.

Consider blood types. People wanted to know which blood transfusions were safe (among other questions) and they created some knowledge of A, B, AB and O blood types. Later they found out more. Actually there is A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+ and O-. It was proper to act on the earlier knowledge in its context. It would not be proper to act on it today; now we know that some B type blood is incompatible with some other B type blood. Today's superior knowledge of blood types is also contextual. Maybe there will be a new medical breakthrough next year. But it's still knowledge in today's context, and it's proper to act on it.

One thing to learn here is that a false idea can be knowledge. The idea that all B type blood is compatible is contextual knowledge. It was always false, as a matter of fact, and the mistake got some people killed. Yet it was still knowledge. How can that be?

Perfection is not the standard of knowledge. And not all false ideas are equally good. What matters is the early idea about blood types had value, it had useful information, it helped make many correct decisions, and no better idea was available at the time. That value never goes away even when we learn about a mistake. That original value is still knowledge, considered contextually, even though the idea as a whole is now known to be false.

Conclusive means the current context only allows for one rational conclusion. This conclusion is not infallible, but it's the only reasonable option available. All the alternative ideas have known flaws; they are refuted. There's only one idea left which is not refuted, which could be true, is true as far as we know (no known flaws), and which we should therefore accept. And that is knowledge.

None of this contradicts the progressive character of knowledge. Our knowledge is not frozen and final. We can learn more and better – without limit. We can keep identifying and correcting errors in our ideas and thereby achieve better and better knowledge. (One way knowledge can be better is that it is correct in more contexts and successfully addresses more problems and questions.)

The Mistake

Peikoff says that certainty (meaning conclusive knowledge) is when you get to the point that nothing else is possible. He means that, in the current context, there are no other options. There's just one option, and we should accept it. All the other ideas have something wrong with them, they can't be accepted. This is fine.

Peikoff also says that before you have certainty you have a different situation where there are multiple competing ideas. Fine. And that's not certainty, that's not conclusive knowledge, it's a precursor stage where you're considering the ideas. Fine.

But then Peikoff makes what I think is an important mistake. He says that if you don't have knowledge or certainty, you can still judge by the weight of the evidence. This is a standard view held by many non-Objectivists too. I think this is too compromising. I think the choices are knowledge or irrationality. We need knowledge; nothing less will suffice.

The weight of the evidence is no good. Either you have knowledge or you don't. If it's not knowledge, it's not worth anything. You need to come up with a good idea – no compromises, no contradictions, no known problems – and use that. If you can't or won't do that, all you have left is the irrationality of acting on and believing arbitrary non-knowledge.

I think we can always act on knowledge without contradictions. Knowledge is always possible to man. Not all knowledge instantly, but enough knowledge to act, in time to act. We may not know everything – but we don't need to. We can always know enough to continue life rationally. Living and acting by reason and knowledge is always possible.

(How can we always do this? That will be the subject of another essay. I'm not including any summary or hints because I think it's too confusing and misleading without a full explanation.)

Knowledge doesn't allow contradictions. Suppose you're considering two ideas that contradict each other. And you don't have a conclusive answer, you don't have knowledge of which is right. Then using or believing either one is irrational. No "weight of the evidence" or anything else can change this.

Don't pick a side when you know there is a contradiction but have not rationally resolved it. Resolve it; create knowledge; learn; think; figure it out. Neither idea being considered is good enough to address the contradiction or refute the other idea – so you know they are both flawed. Don't hope or pray that acting on a known-to-be-flawed idea will work out anyway. Irrationality doesn't work.

That's not good enough. If you discover a contradiction, you should resolve it rationally. If you fail at that – fail at the use of reason – then that's bad, that's a disaster, that's not OK.

Karl Popper made the same mistake in a different form. He said that we critically analyze competing ideas and the one that best survives criticism should be acted on. Again this is too compromising. Either exactly one idea survives criticism, or else there is still a contradiction. "Best survives criticism", and "weight of the evidence", are irrational ways of arbitrarily elevating one flawed idea over another, instead of using reason to come up with a correct idea.

(For some further discussion about weighing ideas, see also the choices chapter of The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch.)

One thing to learn here is that a false idea can be knowledge.

[and]

Knowledge doesn't allow contradictions. Suppose you're considering two ideas that contradict each other. And you don't have a conclusive answer, you don't have knowledge of which is right. Then using or believing either one is irrational. No "weight of the evidence" or anything else can change this.

Where is your definition of knowledge? The first thing you should do is define your terms. Ayn Rand defined it as "“Knowledge” is . . . a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation."

How can you regard false ideas as knowledge, as "a grasp of reality"?? Additionally, do you not see that there are degrees of knowledge? One can know a little about cooking, or have more knowledge about it. As well, there are degrees of evidence all the way to certainty, it is not a case of 'either or'; ignorance or omniscience. Most of our lives are guided very limited knowledge. We make the best of what we know, but false ideas are not considered knowledge.

You said "The idea that all B type blood is compatible is contextual knowledge. It was always false, as a matter of fact, and the mistake got some people killed. Yet it was still knowledge. How can that be?"

How? It was limited knowledge, that is, limited to some B blood. The error, was not limiting the claims to what they knew, but extending them to what they assumed. They assumed only one type of blood. They had limited knowledge and failed to set the claims within those limits. For example the actual samples used.

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But that is how it works in reality, not in his rationalistic world of floating abstractions. His whole approach is antithetical to Objectivism and is hopeless down to its roots, as are his bizarre notions of "certain", "absolute" and "contextual". He does not understand Objectivism and constantly misrepresents it, while tossing around the terminology in false premises as he "refutes" straw men in his bizarre agenda to steal Ayn Rand's ideas and munge his misrepresentations with Popper in order to save her from herself. His claims to be an "expert on Objectivism" are a sham.

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Objectivists accuse Popperians of being skeptics. Popperians accuse Objectivists of being infallibilists. Actually, both philosophies are valuable and largely compatible. I present here some integrating ideas and then a mistake that both philosophies share.

Knowledge is contextual, absolute, certain, conclusive and progressive. The standard of knowledge is conclusiveness not infallibility, perfection or omniscience.

Certain means we should act on it instead of hesitating. We should follow its implications and use it, rather than sitting around doubting, wondering, scared it might be wrong. Certain also means that it is knowledge, as opposed to non-knowledge; it denies skepticism.

Absolute means no contradictions, compromises or exceptions are allowed.

Contextual means that knowledge must be considered in context. A good idea in one context may not be a good idea when transplanted into another context. No knowledge could hold up against arbitrary context switches and context dropping.

-------------

This is indeed a strange way of defining these terms, and is certainly not the way they are defined by Objectivism. There are strong elements of Pragmatism here. Where does truth or reality fit in with your terms? Since you have left it out of your description, then only "acting" rather than "doubting" or being "good" constitute your elements of knowledge. This leads you to later conclude that "false ideas can be knowledge" and that "not all false ideas are equally good" as if any false idea could be 'good.' Bringing in ethical terms to epistemology is another one of your errors.

You later say "Knowledge doesn't allow contradictions. Suppose you're considering two ideas that contradict each other. And you don't have a conclusive answer, you don't have knowledge of which is right. Then using or believing either one is irrational. No "weight of the evidence" or anything else can change this." If you have sufficient knowledge that two ideas contradict each other, then that is a conclusive answer. On what other basis would you be able to "consider that they contradict each other"? There are innumerable situations in life when one has insufficient information to judge whether an idea is 100% correct, yet some action is necessary. Have you ever worked in a time-sensitive deadline-oriented job? What would you do if you're driving in a car at 65 mph and come upon a sharp curve in the road where you don't have sufficient knowledge of whether there is a reason to slow up or keep going at speed? Is it equally "irrational" to act on either idea that something is around the corner where one can't see and slow up vs. keep going at 65 mph because I don't have a conclusive answer about whether there is an object around the corner?

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-------------

The Mistake

Peikoff says that certainty (meaning conclusive knowledge) is when you get to the point that nothing else is possible. He means that, in the current context, there are no other options. There's just one option, and we should accept it. All the other ideas have something wrong with them, they can't be accepted. This is fine.

Peikoff also says that before you have certainty you have a different situation where there are multiple competing ideas. Fine. And that's not certainty, that's not conclusive knowledge, it's a precursor stage where you're considering the ideas. Fine.

But then Peikoff makes what I think is an important mistake. He says that if you don't have knowledge or certainty, you can still judge by the weight of the evidence. This is a standard view held by many non-Objectivists too. I think this is too compromising. I think the choices are knowledge or irrationality. We need knowledge; nothing less will suffice.

The weight of the evidence is no good. Either you have knowledge or you don't. If it's not knowledge, it's not worth anything. You need to come up with a good idea – no compromises, no contradictions, no known problems – and use that. If you can't or won't do that, all you have left is the irrationality of acting on and believing arbitrary non-knowledge.

I think we can always act on knowledge without contradictions. Knowledge is always possible to man. Not all knowledge instantly, but enough knowledge to act, in time to act. We may not know everything – but we don't need to. We can always know enough to continue life rationally. Living and acting by reason and knowledge is always possible.

----------

It would be nice if you would cite your sources for this summary of Peikoff's position. I'm don't think the above is an accurate summary.

What does "judge by the weight of the evidence" mean and what does it refer to? What are you judging? What is being compromised? Why are the only choices "knowledge or irrationality"? What about error? "Either you have knowledge or you don't" is about as clear as mud. At any stage in the development of an idea or theory, every element of one's thinking must represent knowledge of reality and that one is certain of those elements. What does "you don't have knowledge" mean? To what are you referring? I don't understand how anything you state applies to anything representing correspondence with reality.

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For example, "Certainty as Contextual" in OPAR.

That is not what certainty as contextual means. You have not answered Paul's query to you to provide the source justifying your re-statement of Leonard Peikoff's statements. You misrepresented him and your latest sentence fragment does not address that.

If you don't have sufficient evidence then you don't have it. He did not say that "if you don't have knowledge or certainty, you can still judge by the weight of the evidence" as if it were certain anyway. But that doesn't mean that if you have to make a choice you can't go by what you have in order to act or make a tentative judgment, knowing that it isn't certain. You have misrepresented him.

I think the choices are knowledge or irrationality. We need knowledge; nothing less will suffice.

Lack of knowledge is not "irrationality". You can be ignorant of something because you don't have the facts you need or haven't yet integrated them. Innocent lack of knowledge is not "irrationality".

Nor does lack of certainty mean lack of knowledge at all. If you understand the evidence you have knowledge. You have some knowledge but not enough for a certain conclusion. There are degrees and levels of knowledge. Your "knowledge" vs "irrationality" is a false alternative. If you "need knowledge" then try to get what else you need, but don't write off what you already know as "irrational".

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"That is not what certainty as contextual means." Dude it's the name of a chapter.

Your personally obnoxious "dude" post is non-responsive. You misrepresented Leonard Peikoff and you evaded Paul's request for an alleged source backing up your misstatement. It doesn't matter what his chapter headings are.

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I just gave a source – that chapter. Stop harassing me.

You did not give a source. The chapter does not support what you wrote. You misrepresented him. Pointing that out is not "harassment". Your flooding the Forum with three threads on the same topic attacking and misrepresenting Ayn Rand's epistemology and promoting your own antithetical agenda is harassment.

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For example, "Certainty as Contextual" in OPAR.

And what information in that section supports your statements? Can you offer quotations alongside your statements so that I may compare them?

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"That is not what certainty as contextual means." Dude it's the name of a chapter.

Citing a source means offering a quote that supports your claim. It means show me where you got your information/interpretation. Giving me a chapter to read does not support your specific statements.

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"That is not what certainty as contextual means." Dude it's the name of a chapter.

It would also be nice if you answered my questions in my posts above.

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It would also be nice if you answered my questions in my posts above.

It will also be necessary. I've been away at OCON and unable to monitor THE FORUM closely, but Paul's Here and ewv have been doing an excellent job of questioning curi's assertions. Now it is necessary for curi to define and concretize his terms and answer the questions and objections they and others have raised. That is how a true discussion works -- especially around here.

THE FORUM's Rules and Guidelines state: "3. Be sure that your posts are well-grounded in facts and logic because, if they're not, other members of THE FORUM will call you on it."

Curi has been called on his assertions and now its up to him to answer his critics with facts and logic addressing their stated issues. He's got 24 hours to do it. If the requested issues are not addressed and the facts and logic are not forthcoming, I will close this thread.

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"The weight of the evidence is no good. Either you have knowledge or you don't. If it's not knowledge, it's not worth anything. You need to come up with a good idea – no compromises, no contradictions, no known problems – and use that. If you can't or won't do that, all you have left is the irrationality of acting on and believing arbitrary non-knowledge."

"Knowledge is contextual"

I think you have a significant misunderstanding of what context means in this context (so to speak). To say that "knowledge is contextual" is not to say that there's anything loosie goosie about knowledge -- it is, in fact, a way of being precise. Before you have identified another context in which your understanding of the way things work breaks down you may not realize the need for context.

For instance: I tell you:

  1. "Heat a 1 quart pot of water until it comes to a boil (about 10 minutes on a sterno stove) [note: making the time up for point of comparison -- depends on distance from source, heat of source, etc.]
  2. Boil egg for 10 minutes to hard-boiled.
  3. Chop egg, add mayonnaise, etc.

Say I wrote this in my kitchen in Santa Monica a block from the beach. Now you pack your sterno stove and fresh eggs (a really bad idea, by the way) into your backpack and hike up to Trail Crest on Mount Whitney, at 11,000 feet above sea level. Now you pull out the sterno and bring the water to a boil. You put your eggs in for 10 minutes, then break them open and ... they dribble onto the dirt; they are still almost uncooked. Now, we have a new context: Higher altitude, lower pressure (well, we know that, but maybe they didn't in the 18th Century, for example, I'm keeping this short). Lower pressure, water boils at a lower temperature, so it doesn't get as hot. In fact, at 11,000 feet, the water will boil around 190 degrees F, rather than 212.

THAT's "context." It is the boundary conditions within which your knowledge applies.

As far as the Blood Type example, it's a tempting one, since Leonard Peikoff uses it, many others use it, and it seems so cut and dried. In fact, most people get it backwards. I think you have, too. You must nail it down to concretes in reality, not syllogisms. What the early serologists were able to say about blood typing was that the blood of people of a certain blood type they called "A" would coagulate in a test tube (and disastrously in the body) when mixed with Type B blood. THAT is how they arrived at the types. They declared the first type identified as "A", the second as "B." and the generalization was that they were INCOMPATIBLE. So, NO, they did NOT say that "All Type A blood is compatible," nor did they say "All Type B blood is compatible." They said the two were INCOMPATIBLE. Then they discovered people that could take either type, calling them "O," and people would could take neither "A" nor "B", but only what they later called "AB," when they realized that this was a reaction AGAINST "antigens" (recognizable proteins) on the surface of the blood cells, so that a Type A person's blood would have anti-B, a Type B person would have anti-A, and someone with no such antigens on their own cell surfaces could develop an immune reaction to both A and B. I'm mixing contexts myself, here, since the knowledge of exactly what was going on came much later. Now, we have certainty, because we understand Why it's happening, at the cellular level.

But it is critical to make the correct statement about what we've observed, or we will be wrong. Those pioneers in blood transfusion thought they had discovered a life-saving technology to rescue soldiers with severe blood loss. The whole science of blood came about when they encountered disaster -- patients dying from the supposedly life-saving technology they'd developed. They wanted to know why. Their first observations were about the INcompatibilities, not compatibility. They were NOT making statements about "All these are compatible." And, later, when they found there were other incompatibilities, they were able to extend their knowledge. The only context there was further experience, not some mystical wider context in which, suddenly, Rh factors appeared on cell surfaces. It was just one more factor to rule OUT certain incompatible blood sources. Again, still later, they discovered that factor on the cell surface and the empirical/phenotypical observation became certain as the Why was fully understood.

If people are going to use the blood typing example, they really need to have a better understanding of the actual history and science of blood. It needs to be grounded in reality, not syllogistic logic.

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I think you have a significant misunderstanding of what context means in this context (so to speak). To say that "knowledge is contextual" is not to say that there's anything loosie goosie about knowledge -- it is, in fact, a way of being precise. Before you have identified another context in which your understanding of the way things work breaks down you may not realize the need for context.

...

If people are going to use the blood typing example, they really need to have a better understanding of the actual history and science of blood. It needs to be grounded in reality, not syllogistic logic.

Yes, and the same goes for any science, starting with and maintaining an understanding of the kinds of relevant facts, and how they arise, as the context of what one is talking about, not rationalism. You gave an excellent description of the blood-type example and its significance. 'Contextual certainty' never meant a 'get out of jail free card' for misstatements arising from rationalistic speculation of over-statements.

And yes, of course he doesn't understand the epistemological meaning and role of 'context' in Ayn Rand's philosophy. He began this thread with a misrepresentation when he said,

Contextual means that knowledge must be considered in context. A good idea in one context may not be a good idea when transplanted into another context. No knowledge could hold up against arbitrary context switches and context dropping." [emphasis added]

Note the mis-emphasis on "good idea", directed at its pragmatic effectiveness rather than its meaning and truth, and "transplanting" ideas as if they are floating abstractions juggled and manipulated with a later attempt to reconnect them to reality for a 'problem' for which they 'work' (discussed previously here on the Forum as the "model mentality").

And he began his first thread, of three on this same subject, misrepresenting the Objectivist concept of 'context' as "similar" to Popper, expressed as:

- attention to context ('problem situation' or sometimes 'problem' is the common Popperian term meaning context. E.g. a Popperian will ask 'What is the problem this is addressing?' and be asking about context.)

Concrete-bound "problem oriented" is not the Objectivist concept of "context" in epistemology; that is pragmatism again. (The pragmatist 'flavor' of his formulations has been noted a couple of times previously by Paul and I.)

His pragmatism is how lands on absurdities like:

One thing to learn here is that a false idea can be knowledge. The idea that all B type blood is compatible is contextual knowledge. It was always false, as a matter of fact, and the mistake got some people killed. Yet it was still knowledge...

Perfection is not the standard of knowledge. And not all false ideas are equally good. What matters is the early idea about blood types had value, it had [sic] useful information, it helped make many correct decisions, and no better idea was available at the time. That value never goes away even when we learn about a mistake. That original value is still knowledge, considered contextually, even though the idea as a whole is now known to be false. [emphasis added]

So he's left with Popper's inherent skepticism manipulating ideas that are always false but "useful" as a false alternative to an intrinsicist "perfection as the standard of knowledge". That is the exact opposite of Objectivism and the idea of knowledge as expanding as opposed to a sequence of exploded sometimes "useful" fallacies.

That is pure unprincipled-on-principle pragmatism. There isn't anything original about his theories; it's stock contemporary corrupt thinking absorbed to the hilt after over a century of pragmatism following the inevitable skepticism created by its roots in Kant. His notion of "context" and everything else in his post are the diametric opposite of Ayn Rand's epistemology, any attempt to "integrate" it is hopelessly impossible, he is misrepresenting Ayn Rand in claiming "similarities" with Popper, and his claims to be an "expert" on Ayn Rand are a complete sham.

But it's unlikely, without radical PE change, that he could understand what we (including Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff) are talking about because this is more than arguing against his fallacies: his entire method of thinking is in terms of them: rationalism juggling anti-conceptual ideas and floating abstractions trying to account for disintegrated thought processes, which leaves one with nothing but an attempt to survive the ensuing skepticism through pragmatism -- and no hope of understanding Ayn Rand. It's no wonder that he thinks Ayn Rand is "on the whole wrong" as he tries to filch certain formulations, which he finds piecemeal appealing but does not understand, to munge them into his starting point of his "Popperism".

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